Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard, left, with developer Steve Pilbrow, and Trust House chairman Jock Kershaw at the planned Solway Country Estate site. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

BECKIE WILSON
beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Masterton will lose its golf driving range to make way for a $35 million retirement village development.

The proposed development at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park will have a lifestyle retirement village comprising 70 villas built on the land the hotel’s golf driving range occupies.

Construction is expected to start early next year.

Developer Steve Pilbrow of Westwood Group has purchased 5.4ha of land surrounding the resort from Trust House.

The development, to be named Solway Country Estate, will have a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, with either single or double garages, all with freehold titles, accessed from the end of William Donald Dr.

Pilbrow said the council had already approved the subdivision of the driving range land for the villas, with resource consent for the villas themselves in the “final throes” of being completed.

Masterton District Council is yet to confirm this.

Pilbrow had plans in 2015 to build a $30m retirement village in Upper Plain on the land he had bought from the Salvation Army.

But at the end of 2016, he announced a new housing development on the same site after a discussion with the Wairarapa District Health Board, which expressed concern of an oversupply of retirement facilities with high dependency units in the region.

Greytown is also set to get a retirement village which will be built on one of the town’s last remaining orchards, Murphy’s Orchard.

Developer Craig Percy expected construction to begin in late 2019.

Solway Country Estate is the latest in several large scale developments in Masterton.

Wairarapa Jennian Homes expects to start its $70m development of 120 homes off Ngaumutawa Rd by early next year, furniture chain store Big Save Furniture will open its Queen St store by May, and construction of the multi-million-dollar Tumu ITM store on the corner of Ngaumutawa Rd and State Highway 2 has begun.

“This progress is a result of Masterton District Council’s forward thinking and a willingness to work with developers to overcome obstacles and encourage future economic growth,” Pilbrow said.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the development showed faith in the town’s continued growth.

“I’m thrilled that there is confidence in our district to have a 70-unit retirement village developed.

“It’s further demonstration of Masterton’s strong growth phase over recent years.”

Pilbrow said residents at the estate would have access to membership of the park’s facilities, including swimming pools, gym, and squash and tennis courts, as well as discounts at the cafe, restaurant and bar.

Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard said use of the driving range had declined and this new development was a step forward for the underused land.

“The land will now be developed to build more homes for our region, this makes it a very good deal for our community and its economic development,” he said.

Pilbrow was behind the Greytown Hub development in 2016, and The Plains subdivisions in Upper Plain.

He also has proposed to build a four-storey apartment and retail block along Greytown’s Main St.

An end to barrage of golf balls

Solway resident Vic Gadsby is “over the moon” at the thought of Solway Park’s golf driving range being closed.

Gadsby spoke to the Times-Age in July last year after becoming fed up with his property being peppered by more than 1000 rogue golf balls.

His George St home neighbours the hotel’s driving range which was built about 18 years ago.

Over the years, he’s had to deal with smashed lounge windows, damage to vehicles, broken spouting, and holes in roofing as a result of wayward golf balls.

Gadsby spoke from a hospital bed on Thursday after an eye operation and said he was “thrilled” the land was going to be redeveloped.

“If that does go ahead, that is going to solve a lot of problems, not just for us but our neighbours too,” he said